Content is the lifeblood of your inbound marketing campaign. Without it, there is nothing to fill your site, nothing to promote on social media, and no data to analyze. You cannot have an inbound marketing campaign without content any more than you can build a home without a foundation.
When starting out, the problem is selecting the best kind of content at the right time. Below are the main types of content and a short description on how to use them. An important aspect to remember is to maintain a consistent voice and tone with all content as to present a consistent brand identity.
Inbound Marketing: Content Options
Blogging remains the best way to post relevant, current information about your industry. A good blogging strategy is to jot down questions customers ask most often and write a blog about each one. This is a great way to rank for specific long-tail keywords and answer questions your potential customers would be asking while performing their research. Consistent blogging helps you gain subscribers, nurture leads, acquire repeat visitors, and rank higher on organic search results. However, you can’t just blog whenever you feel like it. Create a blogging schedule and stick to it. Most of us (including me) are guilty of falling behind our schedule. So, remember to be realistic when setting your goals.
2. Email Marketing:
The key with email marketing is to realize that not every single one of your emails is going to get opened. The second key of email marketing is to send different emails to different customers based on where they are in the Buyer’s Journey. There is no reason for a new subscriber to receive the same email as a frequent customer. The goal of email marketing is to create engagement with your brand and offer a reason why they should remain on your email list whether it be current information, special promotions, or sales.
Infographics are visual representations of information and can be extremely valuable to your inbound marketing strategy. Adding one or two strategically placed infographics in a blog post or throughout a whitepaper or eBook shows the information quickly and enhances the text. It can also be shared via social media as the visual representation of your written content.
The best part of having videos on your site is how easy they are to share. Social media posts with videos get shared 1200% more than posts that don’t contain video. I know. That’s a big number and it’s likely to increase as more internet traffic moves to mobile devices. Videos provide a great way to show your brand identity, either with a well-executed overview video or through customer testimonials and employee interviews. They can also be commercials, product demos, or conference keynotes or presentations.
A podcast is an audio version of a blog. Normally, it is part of a daily, weekly, or monthly series, and subscribers receive new installments through email. They can help nurture customer engagement through message boards and comments and you can easily transcribe the podcast for a blog post. A good tip to ensure you stick to your schedule is to record a whole month in one sitting. Another option is to make a video podcast, which is easier to share and can help add depth to your YouTube channel.
6. SlideShare Presentation:
SlideShares have gained popularity with their integration into LinkedIn. And, according to Matthew Buckley of New Breed, have become an amazing source of presenting information. There are so many different options that include a recent presentation or keynote, an internal meeting, or product demonstration. There are many presentations your company already has that can easily be uploaded to your site.
7. Case Study:
A case study shows what problems a past or fictional customer faced, what solutions your firm provided, how those solutions performed, and where that customer is now. The more detailed the better, but the main goal is to keep it easy to read, with many scannable options.
An eBook is a longer piece of content, roughly 20-50 pages and goes in depth on a specific subject. EBooks are an important part of your content strategy because they can:
- Hide behind a landing page to gather information on leads
- Stay relevant for months or years with only minor changes
- Be broken into smaller parts for blog posts
According to Lindsay Kolowich of Hubspot, “Whitepapers are the academic papers of marketing content” and are much more serious in tone than a blog or eBook. Whitepapers are dense, and may need more than one reading to properly get all the information. They are a minimum of six pages, with a table of contents and have charts, graphs, and other infographics to provide more information. As with eBooks and Case Studies, a whitepaper is a great way to acquire leads behind landing pages.
A webinar is a web-based seminar, lecture, or presentation. The key factor is the ability for audience engagement and the exchange of information through Q&A sessions or live chats. This is another way to gather more information on a lead because attendees will have to sign up in advance, providing you with contact information. Or, you can have a pre-recorded webinar behind a landing page. Both live webinars or pre-recorded ones present you and your company as a leader in your industry.
Content Drives Sales
While content is king, not all content is created equal. You and your team have to decide which forms of content are the best representations of your company and the products and services you provide. By targeting specific points in the Buyer’s Journey and providing the right information at the right time to the right customer, your content can lead visitors through the buying process.
This is the blood and guts of your inbound marketing strategy. It is important to remember that having a plan and staying consistent, both in your posting schedule and in the tone and voice of your company, are just as important as what you post. The content you provide, and the manner it is presented, represent the values of your company.
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Generate more leads through properly structured content. Copyright Mike D. O’Brien 2016